Wait! What? Matt Kenseth leaving Roush?
Quietly he has said that his deal for 2013 is in place and he will announce at a later time. Speculation is that he will be moving to Joe Gibbs Racing, but whether that will be as a fourth car remains to be seen. Earlier speculation had him moving to the 11, as Denny Hamlin's contract is up this year, but the news wires are abuzz with rumors of Denny's imminent re-signing.
Of course, Gibbs isn't the only team who could be looking to find a new driver. Whether Kenseth would prefer to remain out of a Chevy hasn't been discussed, at least not that I've seen, but the driver has not been one to promote the Fords, at least not the way teammate, Carl Edwards, has.
In any case, I'm sure Matt will announce his news, his way.
Two new developments have arisen in the past week that may affect the way we watch racing. NASCAR is restructuring their broadcasting leadership. The article is full of praise for the gentlemen taking over the helm of NASCAR media, but it does look to be a good move. The idea, as I see it, is for NASCAR to promote, commercially, only that which is NASCAR related. That means you shouldn't be seeing ads for NBA equipment during a NASCAR race. Good news in my book.
Additionally, Daytona International Speedway has made an application to the council of Daytona Beach, FL for permission to improve the speedway, namely the areas where the fans are prevalent. The gist of it is to upgrade the front stretch stands, including suites and boxes. The fan areas in the infield are to be upgraded and more interactive areas incorporated into the design. All in all, a good move for the fans.
NASCAR is also continuing its "Drive for Diversity" program, and 17 new interns have been appointed to work with NASCAR over the next 10 weeks, in a fully paid internship. Although NASCAR seems to remain a sport where only a few non-Caucasians are involved, we have more women involved in the sport, through driving, the media, the crews and in the teams' head offices. Additionally, we are seeing more and more non-Americans competing. In fact, Nelson Piquet Jr. won at Sonoma last weekend in the Nationwide Series race. All of this is great for our sport.
Finally, the teams are in Kentucky this weekend. This is the second year at the track, and we are night racing! Tonight the Nationwide teams take to the track, and Saturday night we'll see the Sprint Cup cars. Kyle Busch won here last year, and he wants to back that up with another win. He has been fastest here in the first practice, but Dale Earnhardt Jr was second. This wasn't a great track for him last year, as he finished in 30th. Last week was not a good week for Jr. He will be looking to rebound hard and gain back some of that momentum from his win at Michigan. Kevin Harvick hasn't won yet this season, and he sits 6th in points. He will also be looking to gain some momentum. He finished 16th last year.
Our points leader is Matt. He says it will be easier to concentrate on the job of driving this week, now that the news is public, his owner has been notified, and Roush has had a chance for damage control by promoting Ricky. Matt grabbed a 6th place finish last year, so he just may the driver poised for the win, but after first practice, he and his team will have some hard work ahead of them, as they were only in 19th.
So, who can win? Honestly, I believe Kyle Busch has a very strong chance to pull off the two for two tomorrow night. I haven't mentioned Tony Stewart or Ryan Newman yet today, but both of them had top five finishes last year, so they, too, could be a factor. Ryan was 14th fastest in the first practice.
I want to apologize to anyone who might have been wondering why we didn't have more NASCAR news front and center this week. I was stuck without internet of any kind, not even through my phone. It's a scary thing not to have access. I promise I will be around more, as we are at the golf course for the summer, and I have great signal here.
I won't see second practice, but certainly will be checking in whenever possible on my phone or Blackberry Playbook. In the meantime, name your picks, your dark horses and let me know what you think about the changes to come.